By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
SEMPORNA: Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI), Junz Wong said his Ministry would come out with a mechanism to ensure large production of quality seaweed as well as to ensure sufficient supply of raw materials for local industrialisation purposes.
The Minister told reporters after he visited several seaweed farms at Kg Gelam-Gelam, Semporna.
“We are developing the seaweed industry through three categories namely nucleus farms, clusters projects and mini estates programmes,” Junz informed.
Between 2019 & 2020, we are targeting to develop 400 farmers and their families through nucleus farms which are expected to cover 200 hectares. It is expected to produce 1,200 metric tons per year.
Meanwhile, ten (10) clusters projects will be developed covering 1,000 hectares. Through this effort a total of 1,000 entrepreneurs and their family members will be involved and expected to produce 8,000 metric tons per annum.
Beside nucleus and clusters projects, 10 anchor companies will be targeted to develop 1,000 hectares of mini estates. This programme is expected to create around 300 employment opportunities and produce a total output of 10,000 metric tons per year.
In ensuring the success of these programmes, Junz stressed that quality seedlings were very crucial and said the Fisheries Department is working closely with private entrepreneurs/ researchers and or local higher institution in developing continuous and reliable supply of planting materials.
During his visit, Junz also visited a seaweed collection centre, Pemborong Jaya Sama owned by a local here.
This centre is providing employment to some 20 locals and is exporting dried seaweed directly to China.
Junz was informed that the company had just concluded 2 containers amounting to 60 metric tons of dried seaweeds being exported to China.
“The price here now is very good which is between RM4.70 to RM5.00 per kg depending on quality and there is huge demand for Sabah seaweed especially in China where price can easily reach RM7.00 per kg.” Junz reiterated.
Datuk Junz made a 2-day working visit to Tawau and Semporna accompanied by his Political Secretary Rakam Sijim, Department of Fisheries Sabah (DOFS) Deputy Director Azhar Kassim and officers from his ministry and DOFS.